Office of Undergraduate Research

Towards Automated Understanding of Health Questions to Create New Conversational Agents

We are doing research to create new text messaging-based automated systems to provide health information and respond to questions. This work involves assessing the information needs of target populations, developing automatic techniques for interpreting and responding to clients' health-related text messages and evaluating text messaging for two different applications. One application, in collaboration with staff from the Milwaukee Health Department, is to provide information services to high-risk expectant moms. The other application, in collaboration with physicians from the Medical College of Wisconsin, is to provide information services to older adults with cancer.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The typical tasks include 1) identifying questions within a set collected from a variety of public sources that meet project criteria (ie question promotion), and s) coding questions according to the project protocols, using new software tools that have been developed. Students will also attend meetings and prepare a poster for the research open house. Students may also test prototype software and provide feedback. At least 2-3 student coders are needed so that inter-rater reliability can be measured as a metric for evaluating the accuracy of the work.